For the Season of Advent I’m reading a wonderful book of devotions entitled, “Watch for the Light: Reading for Advent and Christmas.” Not only does the title capture the very command that gives me hope in this dark season (there is light to watch for!), it offers some of the best writings for Christian living in this season.
In the reading for today, I was stunned by the writing of Loretta Ross-Gotta, a Presbyterian author, dramatist and chaplain. She alarmed me by proposing that we dispense with Christmas decorations, glorious Christmas hymns and music and the children’s pageant. She asks, “What if on Christmas Eve people came and sat in the dim pews and someone stood up and said, ‘Something happened here while we were all out at the malls, while we were baking cookies and fretting about whether we bought our brother-in-law the right gift: ‘Christ was born. God is here?'”
The jolt of her proposal caused me to remember that I am following a Twitter site called @OccupyAdvent. But I hadn’t visited this site since last year. So, today I checked out their postings and found the stillness, the refreshment and the encouragement of others to keep a peaceful and faithful time this Season…to become a dwelling for God; a calm, living dwelling place for Christ. Yes, God is here! I wouldn’t mind it if we as a parish began to encourage each other in this calling to be a dwelling for Christ, starting now.
While I was receiving the encouragement to “Occupy Advent” on this Twitter site, I learned about the hashtag, #adventmusic. I found a range of musical recommendations from my @OccupyAdvent friends…from Corelli’s “Christmas Concerto op.6, n. 8” to Colin Hay’s “Waiting for my real life to begin,” #adventmusic. Check it out!
So, come, let the good people of St. Paul’s occupy Advent together. (And then, when it’s time…. make our beautiful decorations, music and joyful children’s pageant manifest to celebrate his birth!)
In the peace of the Prince of Peace,
The December issue of The Messenger is here. December 2013
Notes on the 10:30 Music
Sunday’s music at 10:30 begins with the choir introit introducing the theme of peace. Our hymns are all oriented to the Advent lessons, especially the message of John the Baptist. The first is “Prepare the way, O Zion,” written by Frans Franzen in the early nineteenth century. It has echoes from Isaiah and allusions to Jesus’s coming as king, even his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. At the gradual we sing “Comfort, comfort ye my people,” a text by Johann Olearius (1671) that paraphrases Isaiah 40, the prophet’s call of peace, forgiveness, repentance, and humility. At the communion we sing “There’s a voice in the wilderness crying,” written by James Milligan in the early twentieth century. It too refers to John the Baptist and Isaiah’s prophecy, as well as its fulfillment in Jesus. We conclude with “Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding,” a Latin text translated and mad popular in the nineteenth century that calls us to attend the Baptist’s cry, and prepare for Jesus’s coming in glory.
The choir anthem is “Prepare Ye,” a setting by Marc Robinson in the Spiritual idiom that especially calls us to listen: “Can you hear the voice crying in the wilderness?”
The organ music Sunday includes Marcel Dupré’s supremely peaceful setting of the Song of Songs text “I am Dark but lovely, daughters of Jerusalem,” and Bach’s Advent setting,”Come, Savior of the Nations.”
Bob Judd, Music Director
This Sunday’s Announcements
Nametags Please wear your nametag. If you need one, a signup sheet is posted in the Great Hall near the kitchen window. Magnetic closures are for those who prefer them but these are not to be used by someone with a pacemaker or other implanted electrical device.
Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program St. Paul’s continues its annual food drive to assist MCHPP in providing adequate nutritional food to needy families this Sunday. The need is still great for the 8 communities that MCHPP serves. They provide food for 200 children to take home each weekend to insure that they have meals over the weekend. They also provide food to families each week and to individuals every day. Please bring one item of non-perishable food each week in Advent to help provide for these needy families and their children.
On the second Sunday of the month the plate offering is designated to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund.
Ecumenical Service of Lessons and Carols Please plan to attend, the service is at St. John’s Catholic Church on Sunday, Dec. 15th 3:00 p.m. A number of members from St. Paul’s will be singing in the choir, and our rector will be reading a lesson. Come early for best seats: it’ll be crowded!
We need two parishioners to serve as ushers, please volunteer. You would need to be present from about 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. (The service is from 3 to 4.) If so, please let Bob Judd know right away. 619-4642 or email@example.com.
Christmas Flowers If you would like to remember loved ones with a donation toward the Christmas Flowers, please enclose your contribution in the pew envelopes. Print the name of person(s) then place in the offering plate, or send to the parish office by December 17.
Advent Meditations for Women – Sharing Stories through the lens of The Magnificat – Join us three Tuesday evenings in Advent as we take a creative and meditative walk, guided by Mary’s prayerful words. These sessions continue on 12/10, and 12/17 from 6:30 – 7:45 in the chapel end of the Great Hall. Facilitators: Rev. Carolyn Eklund and Carol Thomas. Please contact the church office to register.
Sharing and Caring Support Group will meet on Wednesday, December 11, at 1:00 p.m. in the St. Paul’s library. Please join us during this season of reflection to share stories and conversation with each other. Looking forward to seeing you there.
Barbara Blanchard, Susan McCracken, and Sandy Meyer
Thanksgiving Homily For those unable to attend, the Rector’s Thanksgiving Day service homily is available for viewing on YouTube at http://youtu.be/TEvykp1pNP8
or find it on our website stpaulsmaine.org This recording was the result of a feasibility test in which several parishioners participated to make it happen. We hope you enjoy it.
Lay Pastoral Visitors As you know the lay pastoral visitors deliver the altar flowers each week to our visitees, members and friends of the parish who enjoy a short visit and a little brightness in their lives. We deliver the flowers in coffee cans that are covered with decorative paper. We need coffee cans. The ones that work best are the small (for 1 pound or less of coffee) metal or plastic cans. Unfortunately the cardboard foil lined cans do not hold water! Please bring any cans to the church, either to the office or the flower room. Many thanks. The parishioners that we visit do appreciate this connection to St. Paul’s.
St. Paul’s Leadership Nominations. At the January 2014 annual meeting, we will elect a Senior Warden, three Vestry Members, five convention delegates, and three convention alternates. Vestry Members departing are Roberta Hipkins, Hugh Savage, and Paul Womer. Please thank them for their amazing work. The Nominating Committee of Terry Leitzell, Roberta Hipkins, and Nancy Johnson will choose a slate to present to the Vestry in mid-December. Please speak to any of them if you are interested in serving or if you wish to suggest someone for these positions.
Advent Spiral Sunday, December 22, 8:00 -Noon and 4:00-6:30 p.m. in the Great Hall. Advent is a special time of preparation for the coming of the Christ and a time to renew our spirit. Please make time to join us as we slow down and find a quiet time to prepare for the coming of the light of the world. Walking the path of the Advent Spiral, by the light of the Christ Candle that awaits us at the middle, allows each of us to reflect on the gift that God gives us in the birth of his son. Adding our own light to that path reminds us that we must let our love of Christ shine for all to see.